Expert Q&A: Thom Brodeur, SVP, Marketwire

Thom Brodeur, SVP of global strategy and development at Marketwire answers a few questions about social media press releases, IR, and the company's presence at NIRI in this week's Expert Q&A.

You've just launched Social Media 2.0 Plus (SM 2.0 Plus). These days, what is the definition of a social media press release?

Thom Brodeur: Ah, the million dollar question. The ‘definition' of a social media press release is still being cast, and our guess is as good as yours as to when someone will finally land on the definition.

For now, we and our clients consider a social media release one that includes and/or allows for multimedia files of all types (audio and video), social network site tagging and bookmarking, a visually friendly and engaging format, and, of course, one that contains newsworthy content. We firmly believe that whether it's traditional or ‘social', a press release still has to have a compelling story and meaningful content.

Marketwire extends the ‘definition' of social media press release in its SM 2.0 Plus product suite by also including in-network distribution of social media release content and images (further enhancing the news' placement among major search engines globally); client-moderated, in-release comments (allowing viewers of a specific social media press release to comment on the content of the release or the brand associated with the release); publishing of the social media press release content and all embedded social elements (video, audio, tags, comments) to a dedicated social media newsroom; and in-release tracking and monitoring of social community or online pick up, redistribution, or promotion of the press release.

What is the role of the press release in today's IR landscape? The communications landscape at large? What has Marketwire done to keep pace with the changes?

Brodeur: Generally speaking the role of the press release in the IR landscape has been set in stone for many years. Investor relations officers (IROs) use the press release, and the distribution of it, via a newswire to meet disclosure of corporate financial and material news. What we're seeing change, albeit slowly among this segment of the communications field, is a desire to engage financial newsmakers, shareholders, and market makers in a more meaningful way, and potentially using their tested, tried and true ‘earnings release' to do that. IROs' biggest concern of course has been how to leverage what's new and what's next in the communications landscape without impacting the requirement to meet regulatory compliance.

To that end, Marketwire announced at the NIRI annual conference it's SM 2.0 Plus solution for IROs. IROs want to make it easy for people to interact with their news; they want to extend the reach of their messages to millions of online influencers in addition to the traditional disclosure points. Shareholders, analysts, consumers and financial media are all increasingly using the Internet as their primary source for information, and through SM 2.0 Plus, we've given our clients the ability to take full advantage of online media while adhering to best practices in investor relations.

Marketwire participated in this year's NIRI conference in different ways. What did you take away from this year's event?

Brodeur: Attendance was lower this year at NIRI than in past years, but for us, we felt that we reached our targets a bit more surgically than in times past. What we took away is that social media is not exclusive to the PR community, but is alive and well and part of the conversation among IR professionals.

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